The ‘Expanded Universe’ of Star Wars is a very strange collection of storylines that, while many fans love, occupy a strange place within the Star Wars canon.
For a good while many parts of the expanded universe, as out there and ridiculous as some of the stories and events were, were still considered to be part of the canon universe, however this changed in April 2014 when LucasFilm rebranded the expanded universe as Star Wars Legends and declared it non-canonical, specifically so that the then upcoming sequel trilogy would not be restricted or restrained by any Expanded Universe plotlines.
This hasn’t stopped fans theorizing ways that certain characters from the Expanded Universe could be canon however, and this includes the ever mysterious but incredibly fascinating Mara Jade, a character who has been on the side of several factions throughout her time in the novels and comics, and who actually has incredibly strong ties to many canon characters.
So why do Star Wars fans argue that Mara Jade can, and should be canon? And could we ever actually see her appear within the main storyline? Keep reading as we take a deep dive into this fascinating character.
Who Is Mara Jade?
Mara Jade’s story is a fascinating one within the Star Wars universe. As a force sensitive human she was raised as one of the Emperor’s top assassins from a very young age.
She became very experienced at carrying out attacks and assassinations of not only Rebel forces, but even Imperials who Palpatine had seen as unworthy or corrupt in his eyes.
While Jade quickly became a stone cold killer after her experiences and training under Palpatine’s wing, after her master’s death she became disillusioned, even though her last request was to hunt down and kill
What she wasn’t expecting however was for this smuggling group to constantly be in contact and working with
Mara Jade, wanting to learn more from the experienced Jedi, went on to train at the Jedi Praxeum on Yavin 4 whole, continuing to grow closer to Luke with the two eventually confessing their love for each other and soon getting married, having their first and only son Ben just 7 years later.
During the Second Galactic Civil War, Jade Skywalker, who was now a devoted Jedi master, received word that her cousin, Jacen Solo, had fallen to the Dark Side as part of the conflict.
Because of Jacen’s connections to the family and believing that he was after Ben, Jade hunted down and eventually found Jacen, however this was to be her final battle.
After using a Force Wave and slamming Jade into a brick wall multiple times, she kept fighting and putting her assassin and jedi training to good use until Jacen stared into the eyes of Jade and created an illusion of her son Ben, causing the weakened Jedi to hesitate and giving Jacen the opportunity to stab her in the thigh with a poisoned dart, leading to a slow and painless death.
Her funeral was arranged on Coruscant as her body remained intact, and after this battle Jaden Solo would be promoted to Darth Caedus.
Why Do Fans Think Mara Jade Could Become Canon?
Mara Jade has some strong, and actually very important ties to a few main characters in the canon universe including Palpatine, but mainly Luke whom she was wedded to.
Many fans point out how Mara Jade’s inclusion would be an important part of the development of Luke in the series and could even help explain his desire to strike down Kylo Ren in the flashback we see in The Last Jedi, with some hypothesizing that Luke could start having visions and dreams of Mara that could lead him to commit such an action.
There are also many reasons for Mara Jade to have her own role within the story however as a crucial part of the canon timeline, especially since Grand Admiral Thawn, another fan-favorite Legends character, is poised to appear in The Mandalorian saga as the main villain in the upcoming spinoff series Ahsoka, and considering Jade actually had very strong connections to Thawn himself during her time fighting alongside Luke, there is a convincing case to be made that Mara Jade could be included in some way.
With Star Wars media making a very clear move towards a canon version of the Thrawn trilogy, there would definitely be no better time than now to include Jade in one of the upcoming shows in order to confirm her place in the canon.
Some fans have even gone as far to suggest that Cal Kestis and Merrin, two characters who appear in the 2019 Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order video game, could be presented as the new canon parents of Mara Jade with Palpatine killing or banishing the parents while taking Jade for himself, and considering Cal seemingly won’t still be around for the Rebellion, this would be a neat way to canonize Mara Jade into the universe.
Why It Is Very Unlikely That Mara Jade Will Become Canon
There are so many ways fans theorize that Mara Jade could be slotted into the canon universe and while it may seem like it’s a no brainer, especially now that we are gradually getting Legends characters making appearances and even having big roles in the mainline shows, there are unfortunately a few key factors holding Jade back from becoming canon that makes it far less likely for her than other characters.
1) Being the ‘Emperor’s Hand’
Within the Legends stories, Mara Jade isn’t just a random follower of Palpatine or even one of his many devoted foot soldiers, she was one of his most loyal and deadliest assassins, so the fact that she would not have even been shown during the Classic Trilogy would make it a little jarring if she were to randomly appear in a future series of movie and claim that she held the position as the notorious ‘Emperor’s hand’.
What makes this even more doubtful is the fact that we have already seen the more recent shows and especially the movies insert a lot of Palpatine’s secrets despite them never being seen or mentioned in previous movies including the Final Order, a granddaughter who he managed to keep in secret, loyal followers living on Exegol and even various clones of himself.
This is already quite a lot of new additions which some fans argue disrupts the consistency of the canon storyline, and while we would love to see Mara Jade appear in some future canon Star Wars media, this main feature of her character arc would be hard to justify.
2) Lack Of Spies And Assassins
Another reason it would be hard to fit Mara Jade into the canon story is simply because her role as an assassin under Palpatine just would not make any sense in the new canon.
While the Emperor’s Hands do exist and are mentioned within the story, we also see that they are no longer spies and assassins but more so governors playing a much more authoritarian role of policing hotspots rather than physically attacking high ranking rebel officials and foot soldiers.
Gar Saxon for example, who played a major role on Star Wars Rebels, was one of the Emperor’s Hands however he was the Acting Governor and Lord Protector of Mandalore and since this series is considered canon, it gives us an indication that this is what this devote group really is rather than a group of assassins, which forms a major part of Mara Jade’s character both in terms of her training and unique fighting style, but also for her eventual turn to the light.
3) Force Sensitive Children
In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we see that while Palpatine is collecting Force-sensitive children, it is shown that he hands over these children to Vader to serve as his own personal Inquisitors.
This further disrupts the idea that Palpatine took Jade under his wing purposefully as since she starts of as simply a force sensitive female human, there is no reason to suggest Palpatine would specifically pick her out from the rest, making it hard to fit this crucial piece of her backstory into the canon.
4) “You Got Thrawn!”
There’s never a worse way to crush the hopes and dreams of theorizing fans than for a creator or producer to outright say that a theory is false, or to confirm that a well loved character will not be making an appearance, and that is exactly what happened just a few years ago regarding the canonisation of Mara Jade.
Noticing how the canon Star Wars storyline had begun moving ever closer to the Timothy Zahn ‘Thrawn Trilogy’ of novels, one Star Wars fan on Twitter back in 2017 asked Star Wars Rebels producer Dave Filoni “Will you reboot Mara Jade?” to which Filoni responded with a damning “No, not likely. You got Thrawn!”.
Now granted, many years have passed since this statement was made, however considering they would have been planning this move towards the Thrawn Trilogy years ago and had likely set out what characters they could and could not fit in from the Expanded Universe, it unfortunately seems likely that the creators have no intention of bringing Mara Jade into the main storyline universe.
5) Mara Jade And Luke
The growing relationship between Mara Jade and
However, in the lead up to Luke becoming a hermit, he tries to train Leia to become a Jedi Knight, saves the Grogu from a Mandalorian, aka Baby Yoda and starts a Jedi school which is destroyed by Snoke and Palpatine, leaving him distraught and traumatized.
Fitting in Jade and Luke’s growing relationship, their marriage and the birth of their son amidst all this would be incredibly hard to do however it is still a major event for both characters that can’t be left out.
While we would love to see the ever powerful and interesting Mara Jade in Star Wars canon, because of a few inconsistencies in the story it would be incredibly hard to incorporate her into the main storyline, however with so many new non-canon additions, we can still hope to see her appear sometime in the future.